The UN survey tracks 58 measures identified with trade facilitation

In a positive development, India has made noticeable progress in ease of cross-border trade, a UN survey that tracked 143 economies on key trade facilitation parameters over a two-year period said.

In the survey, India's rank moved up from 79.49 per cent in 2019 to 90.32 per cent in 2021, marking a significant improvement.

Notably, the bi-annual survey exclusively deals with trade facilitation measures taken by individual countries, Live Mint reported quoting the UN Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation.

Sharing the development on its website, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) said on Monday that the UN survey result was a remarkable improvement in India’s ranking on ‘digital and sustainable trade facilitation.’

CBIC said that the results showed India was among the best performing country in South and south West Asia region and in the Asia Pacific region. India’s overall score has also been found to be higher than many of the OECD countries and the average of EU, it said.

Among developed countries, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Japan and Belgium have scored more than 93%. In South Asia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were behind India with a score of 64.5% and 60.2%, the survey showed.

The survey tracks 58 measures identified with trade facilitation such as facility for electronic submission of declarations and electronic payment of duties and fees and electronic application for refunds which are seen as global best practices.

According to the 2021 survey report, India has scored 100% in transparency, 95.83% in formalities, 88.89% in institutional arrangement and cooperation: and 96.30% in paperless trade.

Since the beginning of the pandemic last year, New Delhi has implemented several measures to cut down procedures and the time taken for customs clearance. From 15 July, customs authorities put in place a host of measures to speed up assessment and clearance of shipments in a more anonymous way.

Simplifying cross-border trade has been a priority for the Narendra Modi administration as it is seen as a key determinant of the ease of doing business in the country. Also, officials are keen to reduce the logistics cost to boost the industry’s competitiveness in world markets.